The definition of emotional eating is eating when you physically do not need to.
This includes extra portions, eating to soothe stress, eating to celebrate, and of course eating to….medicate.
Certain textures and chemical compounds of foods (salty, sweet), will evoke neurotransmitters attempting to literally medicate. Certain foods soothe- like peanut butter or ice cream, certain foods appease anger- like crunchy, salty things.
I have had issues with emotional eating for years. And I remember going to a homeopathic doctor and he explained how eating an access of sugar actually releases similar chemicals in the body to cocaine. Yes. Cocaine. That’s some intense stuff, and sugar can be found everywhere! Sugar is not the problem though, it is that we don’t know how to trust our body.
“When you eat sugar, your blood sugar spikes, insulin is released, then blood sugar drops, and you crave it again and again. When your blood sugar drops, your body sees it as a state of emergency, causing you to crave food as a way to fix the situation. Sugar is the fastest way to do that aside from the alternatives. That is why when you eat sugar, you crave it more – similar to how a drug addict craves his drug.”
We don’t usually realize how sensitive our brain and body are. We don’t know the foods we eat have a direct effect on our mental, emotional, and of course physical health sometimes. Rather than doing “a cleanse” or “keto” or whatever the next fad is, you should really start learning to love and trust your amazing body. Just like a puppy, full of life and wanting more life, you will want to move! You will want to choose fuel. You will want all the nutrients from the earth to energize your life.
I began emotional eating as young as 9 years old to self-medicate from overwhelming feelings, I didn’t know how to eat or what a healthy lifestyle was coming from a small town of 8000 people. My Mom came from the post-60’s house wife era of home cooked meals and she fell into the allure of fast food, packaged foods, microwaved foods- easy foods but not necessarily good for the body foods. I’m not knocking down my Mom she really just didn’t know better. The media would shine a spotlight on these amazing, easy foods and basically lie on the packaging the the food was “healthy.” So, during my teen years I didn’t know what real nutrition was.
As for fitness and wellness.
It seemed to me there were athletes, and then just other people. And your body is just your body. Eventually I realized, while was a larger frame person, big bones are not the same as adipose tissue, fat was not a “body type.”
One of my mentors when I was 16 started to teach me fitness by the time I was 18/19. Then I started to find healthy medication from exercise and nutrition rather than isolating and eating- who knew!? I was able to channel my energy into movement. I was able to strengthen my body. I was also able to begin shedding emotions I shoved deep, deep, down into my body. All of this healthy stuff helped my body heal from Fibromyalgia as well through diet, energy work, therapy, and strength training. I finally had the know-how and tools to shape my life by shaping my body.
Since then- the early 2000’s, you can now find information on health and fitness EVERYWHERE in 2020. But, that can be a whole other case of overwhelm where people might feel it’s just all too much and resign to their old patterns. “What’s the use?” Right? But self-acceptance is not the same thing as self-resignation. Self-acceptance is about loving yourself unconditionally and making choices from that foundation. Self-resignation is feeling so overwhelmed and defeated you don’t believe you can become anything other than your past programming. We don’t want that either.
There is another way!
First, let’s address emotional eating and healing it.
Let’s think. What would heal emotional eating?
Healing the emotions.
Yep. Not the answer you want, but the answer you need.
The cool thing is, your BODY knows how to heal.
Just like our body magically stops bleeding after a cut, then forms a scab-a magnificent scab! Then forms new skin under this protective layer, and boom- healed.
Our body knows how to heal. It knows how to heal emotions too.
You know what part of you doesn’t know how to heal emotions?
Your friggin’ mind!
That part of your mind that overthinks, obsesses, fixates, ruminates, criticizes- that part is NOT healing. This is the part of your mind that wants to over-eat or eat to create happiness.
The mind has simply created a scab in a way. A scab to protect you from further pain. It thinks it can think its way through pain, but it can’t. The protective scab of your mind-the critical overthinking part- never fell off revealing new tissue, new energy. Your overly critical, brain is the source of EMOTIONAL EATING. Not your body.
Your body is not “craving” over stuffing your stomach causing indigestion. Your body is not craving heavy, lifeless foods that will gunk up your system.
Your mind is.
And your mind can be trained too.
Your mind needs to know it is safe to feel.
Your mind needs to know it can trust your intelligent body.
This article will not heal your emotional eating.
But, it will point you in the right direction.
What’s my tips for healing the mind to allow the body intelligence to work with you for you?
Start. Start now. Create a plan to match YOU. And commit to yourself. Not from force, but from love.
1. Start by just breathing. Breathe and feel the sensations in your body. Maybe try a meditation app or yoga class for more guidance, but just start with breathing and more importantly FEELING.
2. Love yourself now. Be the body you want now. How does it want to eat? How does it want to move. Let the past go and don’t obsess about the future. Be your best self now- today. Do that everyday and overtime your body will self-heal.
3. Burn off the self hatred, channel the overthinking- don’t feed it with more food that doesn’t need to be eaten.
Go for a walk.
Clean your house.
Clear out a closet.
Call a friend and do something.
Play with your kid or pet…or partner 🙂
Sometimes just move gently, perhaps even a shower, but move.
Move the energy.
4. Pick up a pen. Write down how you are feeling on paper. Let it all go and don’t think too much about it. Just start writing. Treat yourself like a best friend.
5. Get support. I have had coaches, therapists, trainers, spiritual healers…all the things! Find someone to help you. We aren’t supposed to do this alone.
You heal your emotions by feeling them, and letting them move.
You train your mind to trust your body.
You can trust your body, but you have to first learn how to let it lead rather than your unhealed mind.
References and Resources:
Geneen Roth books
jennasmithcoaching.teachable.com check out the You are the Manual program.
Have an Immersion: bit.ly/333withjenna